By Raegan Stanley
Special to the Herald
AUSTIN – Six strokes behind the leader is not where anyone wants to find themselves in the final round of a golf tournament when their eye is on the prize.
That's exactly where Salado's Ryan O'Rear found himself after seven holes of play in the UIL Class 2A state golf championship on Tuesday
"Normal people would probably give up," said teammate Tom Baine. "Ryan, he decides 'Hey, I think I'll win this'."
And win he did.
O'Rear made five straight birdies, starting on No. 12, to fire a 67 (36-31) and win medalist honors for the second consecutive year.
Even better than that, according to O'Rear, is that the Salado Eagles won the team gold as well.
"That (win) means much more because we're together all year," said O'Rear. "It's great because we've come up short the last two years. After yesterday, we were in the hunt and everybody came out to play today."
The team's 301 is the lowest score the Eagles have ever posted and they beat twice-defending champion Edgewood by two strokes.
Baine shot a 77 in his second round, down from the 88 he fired on Monday and Tyler Pines dropped seven strokes (82-75?157), Jared Hahn an 81-82 (163) and C.J. Little struggled, posting a 93, up from his 82 of Round 1.
"Ryan straightened us out last night," Baine said, laughing. "He got our heads right, told us that we couldn't let Edgewood win three times in a row. We knew Ryan would do his thing and we had to be there with him."
All five players on the Eagles' team will be returning next year as they are currently juniors.
"I thought the possibility of winning the thing was a lot better before yesterday," coach Bobby Peschel said with a laugh. "I knew they were more than capable of playing like they did today.
"It's kind of special," Peschel said of the boys' championship.
The Salado girls, who had won three out of the last seven state titles, finished fifth.
The Lady Eagles held steady, shooting a 380 on Tuesday to go with Monday's 379 and move up two spots in the standings.
"The girls had a great tournament," Peschel said. "With three freshmen and two sophomores, the experience will help. They're going to be a team to watch out for the next few years."
Taylor O'Rear improved from a 94 to a 78, the first time she has broken 80 in tournament play. Rachel Van Hoozer (88-90 ? 178), Haley Kemp (89-100 ? 189) and Brennan Boydstun (108-112 ? 220) completed the Lady Eagles' scoring.
Wall waltzed to the girls championship, winning by 40 strokes over San Saba with its score of 355.